Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. (COMAC) today announced they are jointly exploring leading technology solutions for the design and development of China's new, large passenger jet, the C919. Through a technology cooperation agreement, the two companies are examining advanced aluminum structural concepts, designs and alloys to create the 190-seat aircraft.
"We are working closely with COMAC to develop a tailored solution that will meet COMAC's goal of creating a globally competitive, high-performance, economical commercial airliner," said Helmut Wieser, Alcoa Executive Vice-President and Group President Global Rolled Products and Asia.
The aircraft will be assembled in Shanghai, but will source parts and components globally.
"The C919 will be the largest passenger jet to be produced in China. Our goal is to design an efficient, high-performance structure that will compete in the global aerospace market. Therefore, it is imperative that we look at design alternatives and collaborate with innovative materials technology leaders like Alcoa," said Wu Guanghui, chief designer of the C919 program and vice president of COMAC.
A prototype of the C919 was displayed at the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress in Hong Kong last month. There is strong market interest for this aircraft based on China's expected long term growth in global passenger traffic demand. The C919 is expected to take its first flight in 2014 and enter service in 2016.